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Becoming a Surgical Technician is a great career choice. At the end of each day, you can know you helped to make a difference in someone’s life.

surgical technician

Job Tasks:

  • Prepare patients for surgery, including positioning patients on the operating table and covering them with sterile surgical drapes to prevent exposure.

  • Coordinate or participate in the positioning of patients, using body stabilizing equipment or protective padding to provide appropriate exposure for the procedure or to protect against nerve damage or circulation impairment

  • Maintain an unobstructed operative field, using retractors, sponges, or suctioning and irrigating equipment.

  • Apply sutures, staples, clips, or other materials to close skin, facia or subcutaneous wound layers.

  • Clamp, ligate, or cauterize blood vessels to control bleeding during surgical entry, using hemostatic clamps, suture ligatures, or electrocautery equipment.

  • Prepare and apply sterile wound dressings.

  • Monitor and maintain aseptic technique throughout procedures.

  • Determine availability of necessary equipment or supplies for operative procedures.

Skills and Abilities Needed to Perform Job:


Knowledge and use of:

  • Automated external defibrillators AED or hard paddles.

  • Electronic medical thermometers.

  • Electrosurgical or electrocautery equipment.

  • Surgical clamps, clips, forceps and accessories.

  • Medical stapler for internal use, surgical trocars and accessories.

  • Surgical lasers or accessories.

  • Autoclaves or sterilizers.

  • Information and techniques needed to diagnose and treat human injuries diseases and deformities.

  • Circuit boards, processors, microchips, electronic equipment and computer hardware and software including applications and programming.

  • Active Listening – Ability to give full attention to what others are saying.

  • Speaking – Ability to convey information effectively.

  • Critical Thinking – Ability to use logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions.

  • Near Vision – Ability to see details at close range.

  • Problem Sensitivity –Ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong.

  • Finger Dexterity – Ability to make precise coordinated movements of the fingers.

  • Arm-Hand Steadiness – Ability to keep your hand and arm steady while moving your arm or while holding your arm and hand in one position.

  • Visual Color Discrimination – Ability to match or detect differences between colors.

  • Written Comprehension – Ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

Desired Work Style Attributes:

  • Attention to details

  • Integrity – Honest and ethical

  • Dependability – Reliable and responsible

  • Cooperation – Pleasant with others

  • Stress Tolerance – Accepting criticism and dealing calmly in stressful situations

  • Self-Control – Maintaining composure, can keep emotions in check

  • Concern for Others – Sensitive to needs of others

Education Requirements:

If you want to be a surgical technician, you can start preparing in high school. It's a good idea to take classes in biology, chemistry, health studies, and math.

After you graduate from high school, you must enroll in a surgical technology program. These programs are offered at 2 and 4-year colleges or technical schools. You can also take a program offered by a hospital or the military.

Surgical technology programs include in-class instruction and supervised clinical training. Common courses will include: anatomy, physiology, microbiology, pharmacology, professional ethics, and medical terminology.

Surgical technology programs also provide training in surgical procedures; how to care for and protect patients during surgery; sterilizing surgical instruments; how to prevent and control infection; and how to handle special drugs, supplies, and equipment.

These programs typically take between 9 and 24 months to complete. Depending on the program, you earn a certificate, diploma, or associate degree.

Most employers prefer to hire certified technicians that received certification from a group such as the National Board of Surgical Technology and Surgical Assisting (NBSTSA). You can also go through the National Center for Competency Testing (NCCT). To qualify, you need to graduate from an accredited program and pass an exam.

Advancement Opportunities and Career Pathway for Surgical Technicians:

Level 1: Entry-level Surgical Technician (High School diploma, completion of surgical technology program and pass certification exam. Salary range $25K to $36K per year.

Level 2: Surgical Technician (High School diploma, completion of surgical technology program and pass certification exam, few years surgical experience. Salary range $30K to $45K per year.

Level 3: Specialist (High School diploma, completion of surgical technology program and pass certification exam, several years of surgical experience. Salary range $40K - $57K per year.

one year. You will also need to pass an exam.

Even though certification is not always required, it is usually preferred and can increase your chances of finding a job as a phlebotomist.

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